Esther S. Tanzman, MD
Note: The author dedicates this article in memory of Janet, mentioned in the article, who, since this article was written, has died of her breast cancer. For more information about the cancer climb, please contact Dr. Tanzman at Esther.Tanzman@rochestergeneral.org.
Requests for Single Reprints: Esther S. Tanzman, MD, Rochester, NY 14618; e-mail, Esther.Tanzman@rochestergeneral.org.
Tanzman ES. Survivor*. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:416-417. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-6-201009210-00012
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(6):416-417.
I am labeled a breast cancer survivor. I am not a “language person,” so I don't pay much attention to exact meanings of words and all of their permutations. I once thought that a survivor is one who is done with an ordeal. But now, I wonder if the word “survivor” should be followed with an asterisk. Alas, I am ahead of myself.
One summer 6 years ago, I felt a breast mass. I explained it away as feeling my rib, but as I palpated the area for the hundredth time, I realized that it was a real lump. At my routinely scheduled mammography, I literally mumbled under my breath to the technician that I felt something. She did the mammography (which was normal), but insisted that I stay to see the radiologist. Professionally, both she and I knew that mammography can miss some instances of cancer. The radiologist performed an ultrasonography that even I, the general internist, could see was not clear black but filled with junk. I could see in the radiologist's face that she also was concerned. I was not at all surprised that breast cancer was diagnosed a few days later. Now begins the process of becoming a survivor.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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